Political situation in Uruguay
The slow road to dictatorship started in late 1960s. Between 1952 and 1967, the country experimented with a collective presidency. The National Council of Government had nine members, six from the majority party and three from the opposition. That provided for a weak leadership during worsening economic situation in the country.
After the re-establishment of the Presidency, the new President Óscar Diego Gestido, in December 1967, banned the Socialist Party of Uruguay. To suppress leftist activists, President Jorge Pacheco Areco (1967–1972) banned leftist political parties and their newspapers, purged liberal professors from universities, and suppressed labor unions. His repressive politics as well as the crisis in economy and high inflation fueled social conflict and guerrilla Tupamaro activities. On June 13, 1968, Pacheco declared a state of emergency. More states of emergency was declared in August 1970, after Tupamaros killed US security expert Dan Mitrione, and in January 1971, when they kidnapped UK ambassador Geoffrey Jackson. When more than 100 Tupamaros escaped from jail, on September 9, 1971 Pacheco, ordered the army to suppress all guerrilla activities. To coordinate their anti-guerrilla actions, the armed forces created Junta de Comandates en Jefe which was the first military coordination body independent of the usual Ministry of Defense oversight. Later, it evolved into Estado Mayour Conjunto (ESMACO).
Between 1968 and 1971, expenses on military doubled from 13.3% of the budget to 26.2% while expenses on education fell from 24.3% to 16%.
In November 1971, general elections were held. In response to Pacheco's effort to change the constitution and to run for re-election, leftist parties created Broad Front. In the controversial election, Wilson Ferreira Aldunate won more votes than the Pacheco's handpicked successor and the eventual winner of the elections, Juan María Bordaberry, from the Colorado Party. Immediately, Bordaberry was perceived as a weak president.